Local gun shop owners worry about new bill headed to House - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Local gun shop owners worry about new bill headed to House

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WSIL -- A bill affecting owners of small gun shops is heading to the Illinois House floor for a vote. The bill would add hundreds, even thousands of extra dollars in fees for small dealers and leave big box stores exempt. 

Sponsors of the bill claim most guns that are purchased illegally come from small dealerships. 

In an effort to curb violence in Chicago, some Illinois lawmakers want to pass stronger regulations on gun shop owners to keep firearms from getting into the wrong hands. 

Bill Fenton says their plan could put his Murphysboro gun shop out of business.

"I can't sell guns right now at the price that they are going for very well, let alone if I have to raise the price because of all the money they are wanting me to spend," said Fenton. 

He says the bill would require him to have a license to sell guns through the state of Illinois, in addition to the federal government.

Mark Jones, an advocate for the bill and former Chicago Police officer, says the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms doesn't visit all dealerships to make sure they follow regulations.

"The bottom line is ATF got to 6.3 percent of the dealers in the country last year. 6.3 percent," said Jones. 

So Jones wants state inspections, but not for big retailers, whose gun sales only make up a small part of their business.

Fenton believes more red tape will not end gun violence.

"Illinois is one of the strictest already, so why are they trying to make it more? They've already restricted us in several other ways," said Fenton. 

Representative Terri Bryant says concern over the issue has voters sending her more e-mails about this bill than any other she's voted on.

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